Snuggles aren't sleep killers
"Someone warned me that I shouldn't hold my baby too much or she'd have a hard time learning to sleep on her own. I worried a lot about what was 'too much' but eventually I just did what felt right—and that was to hold her as much as I wanted! My daughter sleeps fine and honestly, who tells you not to hold your baby?" —Jessica F., 34, Whittier, California
Teenagers are actually really great
"When my kids were little and being naughty, everyone used to say 'Oh just wait until they're teenagers, it'll be so much worse!' It's true that bigger kids have bigger problems, but to be honest, I like my kids more now, at ages 13 and 16, than I ever did when they were toddlers. The older they get, the more they can do and the more fun they are to be around. I wouldn't go back to the baby years for anything." —Jessica F.
Vaccines are not evil
iStock/ Christopher Futcher
"I had a friend telling me all this terribly frightening information about vaccines and initially I didn't believe her, but she was so passionate. Eventually I started to think she might be right, and since I always want to protect my daughter, at her next appointment I burst into tears, refused the vaccinations, and walked out. But then I decided to do my own research. I began to see that every single credible source said vaccinations were safe. There was literally no evidence anywhere that they were bad. And I looked—I wanted to find a reason not to give my daughter shots. After a long conversation with a doctor of microbiology whose life's work is the study of disease and trying to help people, I realized how stupid I was to worry. My daughter was vaccinated the next day. I wish I'd had this information sooner because my ignorance could have cost my child her life, and vaccines are a simple, safe, inexpensive miracle of modern medicine. Now I am the biggest advocate of immunizations in the world because I can't believe I was nearly fooled into something so crazy, and worse, something that could have really hurt my child." —Mandi J., 36, San Diego, California
You can't spoil a baby with love
"When I first had my kids I worried a lot about 'spoiling' them, but looking back I wish I had let them sleep with me more, carried them in my arms all day every day, and spent as much time with them as I could. As a mom you learn fast that they are only going to need you like that for so long, so just enjoy it." —Dominique S., 25, Mazeppa, Minnesota
The best years of your life? Really?
"I hated it when people told me, 'Enjoy every moment, they're only young once!' I believed this and lived with constant guilt because I was actually not enjoying every minute of it. And you know what? That is fine. I wish people had been honest that parenting is not always sunshine and roses, and feeling that way doesn't make you a bad parent." —Carrie S., 38, Denver, Colorado
Set high expectations and your kids will live up to them
"People often underestimate children and do things for them that they can—and want to—do for themselves. I wish I'd known to treat my little ones more like the adults they are training to be. Kids are very capable of helping do basic things like dressing and cleaning up after themselves. You might be a little late sometimes but they'll get used to taking care of their things better." —Megan H., 40, Ridgecrest, California
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There is no "right" time to wean
"I was told that I should wean my daughter by age 1 or else she would become clingy and dependent. But I have learned that all kids are clingy at that age! Nursing is such an individual decision and you shouldn't rely on anyone's made-up deadline. My daughter is 3 and I am still happily breastfeeding her. And now she is Miss Independent! On her second day of nursery school, she said to me 'You go home now? Bye bye.'" —Angela S., 37, Glendale, California
It's okay to say "no"
"We had people tell us to never tell our kids 'no,' that it would damage their self-esteem, and that we should come up with more creative ways to say it or just let our kids do what they want and learn the consequences. That is ridiculous. We learned quickly that kids sometimes need to hear a clear 'no.' Plus, kids are more resilient than you think—ours are happy, know appropriate boundaries, and still have plenty of self-confidence." —Jason A., 41, Seattle, Washington
Trust your parenting instincts
"I wish I had known to ignore 90 percent of all the advice we were given. Truly no one else knows your children like you, as parents, do. It was so hard because once I was pregnant with twins I got advice non-stop and quickly became overwhelmed. Then the twins arrived. I forgot all the advice and found I had to learn on my own. I asked family and friends as needed but most of the advice we got wasn't useful to us anyhow." —Sarah W., 31, Indianapolis, Indiana
You have to teach kids how to sleep
"I wish I had known that good sleep habits aren't something that just comes naturally to children. I wish we'd been a little more firm with my boys with sleeping in their own beds and learning to self-soothe. They still can't fall asleep in quiet rooms and I don't think they sleep very well. My daughter has slept in her room since day one; she puts herself to bed fine and seems to be more rested the next day." —Angela W., 40, Baltimore, Maryland
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